What Does Walmart Do With Returns? [You Might Be Surprised]

Does Walmart sell returned items? Do they check serial numbers and returned electronics? Here's everything you need to know.

Walmart is widely known for its generous 90-day return policy on top of the wide variety of items and services available at their Supercenters.

While most people think that when they make a return, the item ends up back on the shelves and sold to another customer. But as people in the industry will tell you, this is usually not the case.

So, what exactly happens when you make return an item to Walmart?

In this article, we’re discussing how Walmart handles and processes their returns and where your item ends up after being returned.

Read on to learn more.

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What Happens To Walmart Returns?

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When you return an item to Walmart, there are many things that can end up happening to the product. If you return it in relatively good condition with minimal wear, Walmart will end up reselling those items.

Just not on their shelves.

Walmart ends up selling most of its returned items to liquidation companies. Walmart sells these products at a slightly lower price, and the liquidation companies will resell the returned products to consumers. This is usually the case for Walmart items returned with minimal wear.

But this isn’t the only way Walmart processes returns.

Alternatively, if the item is returned new and still in the box may actually be sold on Walmart shelves, albeit at a discount. Returned items will most likely never be sold as brand new or at the standard retail price.

However, returned grocery items like food, produce, and defective items are not resold at all. Instead, Walmart destroys and disposes of all damaged, defective products that are returned as well as all food and grocery items.

Does Walmart Check Serial Numbers?

Yes, when returning items to Walmart, especially electronics, Walmart will scan the serial number to ensure that you are returning an eligible item.

When buying electronics like tablets, phones, and laptops, they will usually come with a range of accessories such as chargers and earphones. So, when you make a return, you have to include all of these accessories as well to receive a full refund.

Sometimes, you can return items at Walmart without a receipt. If you do this, you won’t be eligible for a full refund, but you can receive store credit. For more information about how to return laptops and computers to Walmart, check out our complete guide.

What Does Walmart Do With Damaged Returns?

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Any product that is returned damaged or defective will not be resold. This includes groceries and food products that are perishable.

While these items fall under the same 90-day policy as other things you can buy at Walmart, they are not resold at discount prices or to liquidation companies.

When Walmart receives a damaged or defective return, these items are properly disposed of or destroyed. When disposing of returns, Walmart makes sure to recycle items such as metal, plastic, and wood to reduce their environmental footprint.

Additionally, returned food that is still consumable is donated to shelters so that it does not go to waste. A recent Walmart report shows that over 80% of their returns waste avoided landfills and other unsustainable disposal methods like incineration.

Does Walmart Check Returns?

Yes, whenever you make a return at Walmart, you need to prove that the item was purchased in that store. The easiest way to do this is by bringing the original receipt. However, there are ways that Walmart associates can verify your purchase without the receipt.

While you can return items without a receipt at Walmart, keep in mind that this usually means you will only receive store credit in return. If you want to receive a full refund, you need to provide Walmart with the original receipt when making a return.


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When you return an item to Walmart, there are a number of things that can happen to it, depending on the item.

For most products in good condition, they are resold at a lower price to liquidation companies. Alternatively, they may also end up on Walmart discount shelves.

However, for certain products that are defective or unconsumable, Walmart recycles and disposes of the products properly. For food items that are still consumable, they are donated to charitable shelters so that they don’t go to waste.

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Arthur Beringer

Arthur graduated in 2002 with a Master's in Business Administration from LSU Alexandria. After working in the retail industry for almost 20 years, he decided to quit and write full-time to help readers who are searching online for consumer-related answers.